What is one-pedal driving, and how does it work in an EV?
There’s plenty of new terms to learn when it comes to electric vehicles, and one of the most potentially misleading is 'one-pedal driving'.
‘One-pedal driving’ doesn’t mean there’s only one pedal in the footwell of your shiny new electric vehicle (EV).
What it does mean is the capability of electric vehicles – and to some extent plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles – offer to use only the accelerator pedal for both speeding up and slowing down.
Just like normal, you press the accelerator to go, but when you reduce the pressure on the accelerator or lift your foot off altogether, the vehicle will slow and even pull up to a complete stop without you having to press the brake.
This effect happens because the e-motor changes from expending electricity when the accelerator is applied to regenerating electricity for storage while braking. Because of this, they are often called motor-generators.
Think of it this way: when you’re accelerating - the motor is driving the wheels, when you lift off - the wheels are driving the generator.
What is regenerative braking?
A traditional internal combustion engine (ICE), as used by most cars on the roads today, converts the heat released by burning fuel into motion.
When the vehicle slows down, that motion is converted into heat, mainly by the brakes, and simply lost.
Electric vehicle motors feed electricity both ways. Regenerative braking is a direct result of this functionality, and one-pedal driving dials it up to maximum.
Engineers estimate that regenerative braking accounts for about 20 per cent of the total driving range of an EV. Regenerative braking is particularly helpful to EVs in stop-and-go city driving.
There’s another handy benefit too, and that’s reduced friction brake disc and pad wear, which in turn contributes to reduced maintenance costs for an EV compared to an ICE vehicle.